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Sun, 19th August 2018
 

Questions & Answers

 
HEAR HEAR

Q: 

What are your views on hearing aids?

A: 

Hearing aids have made a huge impact on the positive enhancement of life for tens of thousands. As the electronic era surges forward, so do improved models which continue to appear. Today, their unobtrusive size, colour and efficiency can help create a new life for those with hearing impairment. Certainly some are expensive, but the price range is enormous, and for many there is substantial government funding support. Many talk to friends who have already been helped before making the final choice.

 
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ILLNESS AND THE NET

Q: 

If anyone in our house becomes ill, there is a tendency to rush to the net to see what it has to say. Usually there is such an abundance of information, including the common cold, it is impossible to obtain a concise simple answer.

A: 

With simple symptoms like a cough or cold, everyday home remedies are often worth a trial run. The local pharmacist can often offer some tips (and will invariably sell you something). But if symptoms worsen in a few days please visit the family doctor for some specific examination and a simple management plan. A ten minute consultation is better than spending two days searching on the net.

 
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MEASLES

Q: 

Measles was once considered a minor childhood ailment, but now people become petrified if the kid down the road has it.

A: 

Childhood measles may cause a long term brain infection which may suddenly come on overnight. From a normal teenager, one becomes a partially paralysed "idiot" which is terrible to see. Hence the fear, and also why measles immunization is so important in early life. It is essential. If you have any fears, or your child in not yet vaccinated, please talk to your doctor or the local council health department.

 
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BREAST CANCER

Q: 

We often hear about new drugs to treat breast cancer. Where do we stand on this controversial subject?

A: 

New drugs such as Herceptin and others continue to be developed, but their long term value will take ten or more years to be worked out, and who is the best candidate for the intervention. In time it will all be sorted out. Today, the main advice is regular mammograms for all women over the age of fifty (some states forty). Cancer in younger women is very aggressive. Self-examination is also carried out, but imaging has taken over as the first line priority. It is largely government funded, and there are centres in many places.

 
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BLOOD PRESSURE

Q: 

The specialist put me on a blood pressure tablet which was very effective. But I suddenly noticed the hair on my scalp and arms seemed to grow more rapidly. In fact, it was amazing. Then a few years later, the dose was reduced. And lo, the abundant hair growth stopped, and I started to go bald again.

A: 

Minoxidil has been around for many years and was widely used to reduce high blood pressure reading. But an unexpected side effect was regeneration of hair. The product since has been widely marketed as a hair lotion, applied twice a day to the scalp. It seems to help about one in three males. But again, if stopped, hair re-growth is reversed. It inhibits the uptake of testosterone (male hormone) by the hair root.

 
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GENERICS

Q: 

The average person is stunned by the number of lookalike drugs which may be given upon presentation of a prescription.

A: 

When "generics" which look alike are called, were given the green light a few years ago, medication started to run amok. Competitive companies were able to repeat the product when patents expired. Hence the plethora of new names. These are claimed to be similar in action to the original product, although many doubt this. They are usually more expensive. For many people this is important, and they are happy with the alternative.

 
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BAREFOOT BEAUTY

Q: 

One often sees children running about barefoot on public lawns and beaches, and wonders if this poses any serious risks of injuries, especially stepping on glass or an infected needle.

A: 

Of course, going barefoot is a risk. It largely depends on environment. Many public places are well controlled, cleaned regularly mechanically by councils, and are located in areas where debris and littering and needles are uncommon. But the alternate is also present. Adequate parental supervision is important. But kids love pulling off shoes and socks. Education is also important alerting them to possible hazards.

 
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STONE RISKS

Q: 

During juvenile spats, kids still throw stones. How can parents deter this dangerous aggressive habit?

A: 

Education from an early age, teaching manners, the customs of society and civilised living are the key. Stuff instilled into the all absorbing developing mind in the first years at home is vital to future outcomes. If they are left to remain feral, with no thoughts of anybody else, a negative outcome is guaranteed. It is amazing what children involuntarily absorb from parents and siblings.

 
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FISH

Q: 

Today, with all the scare stories about the toxin levels in fish, it is difficult to know whether this should be eliminated from the diet altogether.

A: 

Scare stories continue, and will proliferate forever. There are media, especially TV programmes dedicated to instilling fear in our minds. Most contain a little bit of truth, but being presented as the "norm" often blows it out of proportion. There is a risk in all actions in life, be it food, travelling, flying or even existing. In fact, all are guaranteed a death certificate ultimately, whatever precautions are taken. A sensible spread of eating priorities and all activities is suggested.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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